AOP PRESENTS “FIRST GLIMPSE” OF EMERGING COMPOSERS & LIBRETTISTS IN BROOKLYN

April 24, 2014
C&V Fellows 2013-14

COMPOSER DARON HAGEN HOSTS

WORLD PREMIERE SONGS FROM THE 2013-14 
SEASON OF COMPOSERS & THE VOICE

BROOKLYN, NY, April 24, 2014– On Sunday, May 18 and Monday, May 19, 2014 at 7:30pm AMERICAN OPERA PROJECTS (AOP) will present COMPOSERS & THE VOICE: FIRST GLIMPSE 2014, the first public presentation of compositions developed during this season’s Composers & the Voice (C&V) program. Composer Daron Hagen hosts the concert of songs written by five emerging composers – Guy Barash, Avner Finberg, Jeremy Gill, Andreia Pinto-Correia, Gity Razaz – and one composer/librettist team, Joseph Rubinstein and Jason Kim, who were chosen by AOP to spend a year creating new works focusing on the operatic voice. The performances will be held at South Oxford Space in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, the home of AOP. Tickets are $15 general admission, $10 for students/seniors and are available at www.operaprojects.org.

Composer Daron Hagen (AmeliaA Woman in Morocco) will host the concert. In addition to seven months of workshop training sessions, the C&V fellows received one-on-one mentoring from Mr. Hagen, as well as esteemed composers Jake Heggie, Libby Larsen, John Musto, Tobias Picker, Stephen Schwartz and librettist Mark Campbell. Each of these distinguished artists review their fellow’s work, offer feedback, and participate in C&V discussions.

The AOP Resident Ensemble of Singers performing at First Glimpse are sopranos Deborah Lifton (Center for Contemporary Opera, Encompass New Opera Theatre, Joy In Singing Competition Winner) and Kristin Sampson (Best Female Performer Award- Mezzo Television Armel Opera Competition, Dicapo Opera Theatre, Santa Fe Opera), mezzo Rachel Calloway (Castleton Festival, Gotham Chamber Opera, PROTOTYPE), tenor Dominic Armstrong (New York City Opera, New York Philharmonic, Lyric Opera of Chicago), baritone Jorell Williams (Caramoor International Music Festival, New York City Encores!, Opera Theatre of St. Louis), and bass-baritone Matthew Burns (Bard SummerScape, Boston Lyric Opera, New York City Opera). Supporting on piano will be Composers & the Voice Music Directors Mila Henry, Kelly Horsted, and Charity Wicks.

Created and led by Artistic Director Steven Osgood (and former Artistic Director of AOP), Composers & the Voice began in 2002 and is currently in its seventh season.American Opera Projects selects six composers for a year-long fellowship to work with the company’s Resident Ensemble of Singers for the nationally recognized workshop series, with additional training in acting, improv, and libretto study. The primary focus of Composers & the Voice is to give composers and librettists experience working collaboratively with singers on writing for the voice and contemporary opera stage. Participants meet in closed sessions from September to April to present and discuss new works composed specifically for the individual voices of the Resident Ensemble.

Composers & the Voice is made possible in part by a generous multi-year award from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Composers & the Voice fellows are supported, in part, by funding from The Victor Herbert Foundation.

First Glimpse 2014 on May 18 and 19 will be the first public performances of compositions created during this year’s workshops. In September 2014, the Composers & the Voice fellows will return from a summer hiatus with Six Scenes, an evening of short opera scenes presented as part of AOP’s First Chance series. One of these scenes will be selected to receive a staged reading at Manhattan School of Music in Spring 2015 as part of their annual “New American Opera Previews, from Page to Stage”.

FG14-banner-5_1

AMERICAN OPERA PROJECTS presents

Composers & the Voice: First Glimpse 2014
World Premiere Songs from the 2013-14 Season of Composers & the Voice

COMPOSITIONS BY: Guy Barash, Avner Finberg, Jeremy Gill, Andreia Pinto-Correia, Gity Razaz, Joseph Rubinstein and Jason Kim
MUSIC DIRECTION: Mila Henry, Kelly Horsted, Charity Wicks
PERFORMANCES BY: Deborah Lifton, Kristin Sampson, Rachel Calloway, Dominic Armstrong, Jorell Williams, Matthew Burns
HOSTED BY: Daron Hagen

COMPOSERS & THE VOICE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: Steven Osgood

Sunday, May 18 and Monday, May 19, 7:30 p.m. 
South Oxford Space
138 S. Oxford St., Brooklyn, NY 11217

Subway: 2, 3, 4, 5, Q, B to Atlantic Avenue – Barclays Center
D, N, R to Pacific Street; G to Fulton Street; C to Lafayette Avenue
Train: Long Island Railroad to Atlantic Terminal – Barclays Center
Bus: B25, B26, B45, B52, B63, all stop within three blocks of South Oxford Space

Car: Commercial parking lots are located adjacent to BAM and Barclays Center

Tickets: $15 General Admission, $10 Students/Seniors
Tickets available at www.operaprojects.org 

Complete information about Composers & the Voice and this year’s artists can be found at www.operaprojects.org/composers_voice

ADDITIONAL PROJECT INFO AND PRESS MATERIALS AVAILABLE AT: http://www.operaprojects.org

PRESS PHOTOS AVAILABLE HERE.


Three AOP Composers Awarded Competitive Grant for Female Composers

April 3, 2014

OPERA America has announced the first round of recipients of its new program, Opera Grants for Female Composers. From among the 112 eligible applicants, an independent adjudication panel selected eight composers, including three AOP composers Laura Kaminsky, Sheila Silver, and Composers & the Voice alumna Kristin Kuster.

AOP-OPERA-America-Female-ComposersComposers Sheila Silver, Laura Kaminsky, and Kristin Kuster

The recipients have each been awarded $12,500 to support the development of their compositions which are listed below.

Anna Clyne: As Sudden Shut
Michelle DiBucci: Charlotte Salomon: Der Tod und die Malerin (Death and the Painter)
Laura Kaminsky: As One
Kristin Kuster: Old Presque Isle
Anne LeBaron: Psyche & Delia
Fang Man: Golden Lily
Sheila Silver: A Thousand Splendid Suns
Luna Pearl Woolf: THE PILLAR

AOP is currently developing Laura Kaminsky’s As One, scheduled to premiere at BAM in September 2014. Sheila Silver’s A Thousand Splendid Suns, based on the best-selling novel by Khaled Hosseini, will begin development at AOP in the 2014-15 season.

OPERA America has awarded nearly $13 million over 25 years to Professional Company Members in support of new American operas, but fewer than 5 percent of the organization’s grants supporting repertoire development have been awarded to works by female composers. Opera Grants for Female Composers provide support for the development of new operas by women, both directly to individual composers and to opera companies producing their work, advancing the important objective to increase diversity across the field.

Opera Grants for Female Composers, made possible through the generosity of The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, is a two-year project. In this first year, Discovery Grants identify, support and help develop the work of female composers writing for the operatic medium, raising their visibility and promoting awareness of their compositions. In addition to financial assistance, grant recipients will be introduced to leaders in the field through a feature in Opera America Magazine, and at future New Works Forum meetings and annual conferences. Supported works will be considered for presentation as part of the New Works Forum in January 2015 and New Works Samplers at future annual conferences. The second year of the Opera Grants for Female Composers program will focus on Commissioning Grants. These awards will help support the commissioning and production of works by talented women. Details for this segment of the program will be announced later in 2014. The independent adjudication panelists for the Discovery Grant cycle included vocal coach-consultant Susan Ashbaker, composer Douglas Cuomo, director Robin Guarino, composer David T. Little, mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer, and composer/librettist Gene Scheer.

(from the press release)


Stephen Salters, Lori-Kaye Miller & More to Star in World Premiere of THE SUMMER KING at Merrill Auditorium, 5/8

April 3, 2014

Portland Ovations, in collaboration with the USM School of Music and American Opera Projects, Brooklyn, NY, presents the world premiere of The Summer King, an Opera on the Life of Josh Gibson, at Merrill Auditorium on Thursday, May 8th at 7:30 pm. The Summer King, composed by Portland resident Daniel Sonenberg, features a talented cast known for their performances around the world. The May 8th concert, an Ovations commission, is The Summer King‘s world premiere.

Daniel Sonenberg, associate professor and resident composer at USM, and a lifelong baseball fan, was drawn to the heartbreaking saga of Negro League ball and became especially interested in the great catcher Josh Gibson. The Summer King portrays the injustice Gibson suffered at the hands of baseball’s “Gentlemen’s Agreement” and also the thriving culture, characterized by black-owned teams, stadiums and taverns, nightlife and humor.

Sonenberg-5Composer Daniel Sonenberg

The cast – which includes singers and instrumentalists based in New York City, Boston, Washington DC, Maine, Brussels and Frankfurt – is led by maestro Steven Osgood, an assistant conductor at The Metropolitan Opera. Osgood also created and was artistic director for American Opera Project’s nationally recognized Composers & the Voice Workshop Series, where the first scene of The Summer King had its beginnings. Working closely with Osgood, Chicago native Lemuel Wade is directing the presentation. Wade brings an international, critically acclaimed career as a singer/dancer to his craft as a stage director.

gibsonpaintingStephen Salters, baritone, who has performed throughout Europe, the UK, Asia and the United States, will perform the role of Josh Gibson. Salters, who currently resides in Belgium, is well known to Boston audiences especially for his work in a variety of musical mediums including recital, oratorio, opera and orchestra soloist. Salters created the title role in Elena Ruehr’s Toussaint Before the Spirits for Opera Boston. He has also appeared at Tanglewood Opera National in Bordeaux.

Lori-Kaye Miller, mezzo-soprano, has performed with New York City Opera, and made her Carnegie Hall debut as a soloist with the New England Symphony Ensemble. Miller will perform the roles of Grace – Gibson’s lover in later years – as well as the Elder Barber’s Wife. Miller currently lives in Germany and is coming to the US specifically for the premiere presentation.

Kenneth Kellogg, bass, who has performed with Washington National Opera, Wolf Trap Opera and San Francisco Opera, will perform the role of Sam Bankhead, Gibson’s friend and teammate.

Supporting cast includes Jorell Willams as Younger Barber and Cool Papa Bell; Cameo Humes as Elder Barber and Gus Greenlee; Rishi Rane as Wendell Smith; Patrick Miller as Radio Announcer, Clark Griffith and Branch Rickey; Christian Figueroa as Scribe and Alcalde; Candice Hoyes as Helen Gibson and Hattie; Kyle Guglielmo as Calvin Griffith; Martin Bakari as Trash Talking Player and Double Duty Radcliffe.

Maine-based singers include the revered Malcolm Smith as Commissioner Landis; Virgil Bozeman as Judy Johnson; and Matthew LaBerge, Aaren Rivard and Joshua Witham as Mariachi Singers.

The Orchestra musicians reside in Maine, with the exception of Greg Simonds, who lives in Massachusetts. Over half of the musicians are on faculty at the University of Southern Maine. The Orchestra includes: Krysia Tripp, flute and piccolo; Thomas Parchman, clarinet, eb and bass clarinet; Barry Saunders, soprano and tenor saxophone; Wren Saunders, Bassoon and Contra Bassoon; Sophie Flood, horn; Elizabeth Rines, trumpet; Mark Tipton, trumpet; Tom Michaud, bass trombone; Greg Simonds, percussion; John Mehrmann, percussion; Anastasia Antonacos, piano; Robert Lehmann, violin; Ferdinand Liva, violin; Kimberly Lehmann, viola; Benjamin Noyes, cello; George Calvert, bass; Don Pride, guitar.

Two Maine choirs, Vox Nova Chamber Choir and the Boy Singers of Maine, will also perform in The Summer King. Vox Nova Chamber Choir, conducted by Dr. Shannon M. Chase, is comprised of 36-40 mixed voices from the Midcoast and Southern Maine musical communities. The Boy Singers of Maine Concert Choir, directed by Jesse Wakeman, consists of boys from Southern Maine who range in age from 8 through 14.

Tickets for The Summer King range from $32 to $38 for Ovations’ Members and $35 to $42 for the general public. A limited number of student tickets are available for $10. To purchase tickets visit www.portlandovations.org, call PortTIX at 207.842.0800 or go to the box office window at Merrill Auditorium.

Support for The Summer King is generously provided by the Center for Cultural Exchange Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, the Maine Arts Commission, Fund for Performing Arts in Maine of the Maine Community Foundation, the Composer Assistance Program of New Music USA, and Margaret E. Burnham Charitable Trust. The Summer King is commissioned by Portland Ovations.


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